Blog For Yourself Or For Your Audience?

A recent discussion on the 9rules forum brought about an old topic I haven’t touched in a while. At what point should you balance between writing for yourself and writing for an audience? If you’re writing for yourself, wouldn’t that mean that you aren’t going to have many readers in the first place? If you’re going to write for an audience, isn’t that going to make you look cheap and dishonest?

To be honest with you I see no difference with both. By having a public blog, you’re already resigned to the fact people are going to read your blog. The question is would you want to spend the bulk of your time self editing your own posts and wondering “if people would really read this?” to avoid being part scores of “me too” blogs out there? Or would you rather have people read your blog knowing who you are no matter how narcissistic or mundane you think you can be?

You have to admit, for the most part it’s hard to deny that we don’t care about our readers interacting with us. It feels good when it happens. After all this is something you wrote and truthfully if you really don’t care about people reading or commenting, maybe you should start writing on real paper instead.

Whatever course of action you take, it would be good to remember that at the end of it, your blog is for yourself. Even if you’re writing for an audience, the reason you would do that is for you to have people read and otherwise interact about something you wrote. It’s still a selfish reason either way. Whether it’d be you wanting people to read what you wrote for them or you wanting people to read something you wrote for yourself. It’s the same thing. You want people to read something you wrote. It’s just that one is less stressful than the other.

In a personal note, following the months that I began to just write whatever that crossed my mind. I blogged about the things that affected me in any way regardless on whether it was a hot topic or even if there was a hot topic on and I was talking about something else entirely. It turns out that those of you who have been following my blog say it’s become more readable. Those of you that started to visit my blog, have been coming back on a regular basis. Whether you commented or not, there will always be other posts. Life after all is not without its constant source of events. Not everything in my life has to be something that affects you.

Sometimes it isn’t about the actual point that matters, more so if you’re a personal blog with no niche. It’s about how you felt free to express your point that people come back to. That’s what being natural is all about. It doesn’t matter whether what I write sounds boring or not. If I think it’s worth blogging about, I will and I sure as hell will have the enthusiasm to back it up. It’s who you are that people will come back reading. So you might as well give them their time’s worth.

Update: What do you know? 9rules wrote something about it too.

15 thoughts on “Blog For Yourself Or For Your Audience?

  1. I think it all boils down to WHY you blog in the first place and who your target audience is. People have to realise that there’s an obvious distiction between commercial blogs and personal blogs in that each requires different approach in order to be successful.

    Being narcissistic is a recipe for failure if you are running a commercial blogs. Simple example: when you open a corner shop, do you care about what your customers want or want you want to sell them?

  2. I think that narcissism is more rooted in all blogs than one may think. The marketability of a blog depends on how you play that narcissism that explains “This is why you buy into what I sell rather than other blogs out there”.

    But you’re right, there is a difference in the way you play it. You can get away with a more casual sense of self if you’re running a personal blog. But the end result is still that you’re still being you despite having something more commercialize. How you capitalize on that is a whole new level of being just you.

  3. ah, you’re thinking about this again 🙂

    i do see it as different, in that writing for youself allows room for one to be more incomprehensible 😛 i guess it’s where you have to figure out what you want – to communicate, or to allow people to make the effort to interpret –and whether or not this is the constant in how you write?

  4. If we weren’t writing with an audience in mind (as opposed to FOR an audience), we’d turn comments off and use a word document. Blogging is interactive. If I were to start writing about housework every day (blech!), nobody would come back from my regulars!

  5. Lainie: Yeah, it’s the way that you communicate that differs from yourself and for others. Like you said, incomprehensible or plain matter-of-fact. Yet, it still will be with an audience regardless, and at the other end of the line, it will be about you.

    Pelf: I guess it’s whether you blog for yourself or for others, the end result will still be you’re blogging about or part of yourself. Whether you want to take the long way round or the direct route and how you do that is a choice that is best left to you.

    ChickyBabe: But you DO write about your life everyday don’t you? Your thoughts at that exact moment. That’s you. Even if you did write about your housework everyday…I would bet that it would be in such a way that it’ll probably make some of us blush like tomatoes. 😛

  6. There’s no need to complicate simple things lah ;). Narcissism is such a general term and when applied to any situation it seems to be the answer one is looking for. Even my cat suffers from Narcissism disorder LOL and it’s true and you know why. Anyway, I think this question applies more to personal bloggers.

  7. I think that, for the most part, people want their blogs read. If you didn’t, why did you put it on the Internet in the first place? is the question one should ask. However, personal blogs are done more the “personal” part rather than trying not to anger readers.

    Niche blogs are slightly different because they need to “harvest” readers in a way, as their income comes from click-throughs and purchases. Of course, niche blogs that tend to be stale and mimic everyone else don’t usually pick up a loyal reading.

  8. When I started to blog, which is just over a year now, the initial reason was because I felt I had to get stuff off my chest about what’s happening in the world around me. I felt I had opinions which needed to be shared. To say that narcissism had no part in the equation would be a lie, I have to admit.

    But then I realized that the whole point of getting “heard” (or read, actually) would have to take into account how one’s thoughts are articulated enough to be legibly understood by the reader. Otherwise, there’s no point. I grew out of the “Dear Diary” stage of my life eons ago. Heh heh. And my real deep-pent secrets are way too dark to reveal, let alone shared with the rest of the world.

    But whether or not one’s blog is niche is really a personal choice. In my case, I purposefully stayed away from being a type-cast sort of blog. As it turns out, over the last 12 months, what I ended up writing could actually be grouped into some discernible categories. Essentially, things I feel passionately about; like music, religion/spirituality and politics, among other things.

    I guess it’s all about self-expression, really, come to think of it – expressed in a way that can be grasped by others.

  9. I write based on a promise. The promise to post on weekdays. So i’ll write whatever cross my mind but due to the promise I made, technically it could mean that my writing are for audience. In other view, sometimes it also mean that you are sharing your view. However you view it, the usual case will be “Just Bloody Post It Already”. 😀

  10. Blog for yourself but be aware that you have (or will have) an audience. That’s the rule in my book 😉

  11. Gaman: It’s not that complicated. It’s looking at things from another perspective. I’m kinda used to doing things like that. It boils down to the human nature of things. When you look at it that way. It explains a lot about blogs from every angle.

    Joy: I tend to agree with you there. Unless the person writing the niche blog is in the frontline business, gets their first dibs or has a unique sense of commentary that’s unlike other blogs. They are effectively “me too” blogs.

    Walski: That would be you finding a way to communicate with others and for you, you already found your place where people do come and read who you are. You don’t write for people anymore. You write for yourself while knowing that people read what you write. That’s the best kind of ballgame being played.

    Chapree: You don’t have to blog if you have nothing to blog you know. The world doesn’t stop if you don’t have a mood to blog. 🙂

    Naebo: Aye. That they always do.

    Jibone: Naturally. 🙂 You’re on the net. It’s not protected. How could anyone think that they don’t have anyone reading?

  12. I write for myself. I mean… if I was writing for an “audience” that would be pretty messed up if I decided to go into detail about how I became Anorexic. And that’s not even the point. I decide what I want to write. I decide what I want to say. I don’t care if anyone reads it or not. I don’t. I don’t care if nobody comments. I don’t. The reason I blog is not to attract attention or whatever. It’s for me.

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